Monday, June 22, 2009

Pancakes and Watermelon Martyrdom

My daughter turned 13 at the beginning of the month. Yes, I heard the hiss your breath made as you sucked it back in through clenched teeth. And yes, having a 13 year old daughter is as scary as you think it is. Scarier, in fact. I remember being 13 years old. If she is doing half of the shit I was doing at 13, I need to remain blissfully ignorant. Ponder that for a moment, your 13 year old self and what you got up to. Oh, I know. You need to sit down? Yes, please go right ahead. I understand. No, no, please don't talk about it. My Dad reads this blog and he thinks I was a good girl (I was Daddy, I swear. This is all for fun. You know that, right? Right?).

Anyway, she wanted to have a sleepover. You have that image I helped you conjure of one 13 year old girl? Now picture 5 of them. They are Lululemon wearing, ipod Touch toting, Twilight watching, gossip mongers. Just listening to their interactions exhausted me.

As is the sleepover tradition, I cooked a smorgasbord breakfast. Kings and Queens have not known such plentiful fare! Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit; there was scrambled eggs, bacon, chocolate chip pancakes, blueberry pancakes, and watermelon. I am usually a fantastic pancake maker, but I require an electric skillet to make my fantastic pancakes. Sadly, last fall, my skillet was in the dish rack drying (I do not dry dishes, they will dry themselves if you let them) atop a mountain of similarly drying dishes. I may have accidentally brushed the the skillet with the fold at the elbow of my shirt as I turned to reach for something and wouldn't you know it! The damned skillet jumped right out of the dish rack, threw itself on the floor and broke! Now I have to rely on a cast iron frying pan for my fantastic pancakes and it usually takes me 6 pancakes or so (3 fit in the pan at a time) before I get the temperature just right and those first ones are always a little darker than the average taste bud prefers. Who usually gets these? Why, me of course! I also got the ends of the watermelon. And so I pose this question: Why do parents do this? Why not make the kids eat the burnt pancakes and watermelon ends? Oooo, that sounds mean. Is it 'cause we love the little buggers? Do you think 20 years from now they will remember my pancake and watermelon martyrdom? I don't think so. Why don't I throw them out you ask? Because then I can hear the little voice inside my head that sounds suspiciously like my mother reminding me of all the starving children in Africa; waste not, want not, etcetera etcetera. So I eat the burnt pancakes and watermelon ends.

Mr. Sprite and I got our movie on this weekend. In fact, we watched 3. Allow me to play critic a moment.

The Reader

I sat down to this one blind. I had read something, somewhere about this movie but I was damned if I knew what, where. Ahhhh, Kate Winslet, is this the one she won the Oscar for? By the time the movie had finished I decided it had to be. That was definitely the type of performance the Academy folk like. I haven't bothered to verify that. I may still be wrong. It was good. I enjoyed it. I don't want to get all spoilery so I will be brief and vague. She has an affair with a 15 year old boy (that's not a spoiler! It happens in the first 10 minutes or so), as he is young and impressionable, when the affair has run it's course (that may be an inadequate description, but I'm gettin' tired, sorry), she continues to plague his thoughts. She lacks a particular skill the rest of us take for granted. The lack of this skill, her inability to admit to it and the fact that she is a guard for the Nazi's lands her in a heap load of trouble. I'd recommend it. Not the happiest of love stories though, so if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Mmmmm, Brad Pitt......Oh! Sorry! Yeah, so unless you've lived under a rock this year, you have to have heard of this movie (the same could be said for The Reader, I know). A baby is born old and as he ages he gets younger. The baby is played by Brad Pitt. His love interest is played by Cate Blanchett. I think I may trade in my current girl crush, Scarlet Johansson, for Ms. Blanchett. She has such classic beauty. Is there anything she can't do? Anyhoo, not much to say. If you are talented at suspending reality and ignoring the numerous questions this premise begs, then by all means, see this movie. You will enjoy it.


Meh. Jean-Claude Van Damme is cool, don't get me wrong. Cute, too. But this? This was meh. I didn't hate it. I wouldn't trip over myself to watch it again. It's supposed to be sorta, maybe, a little bit, kinda autobiographical, so I'm told (again, I haven't bothered to look it up. I'm all about repeating all sorts of unsubstantiated shit tonight, sue me). Back to the maybe, could be, sort of, might've been autobiography. Reeeeally? I raise one eyebrow at you, Mr. Van Damme. I imagine I would have to be a bit more of a fanatic type fan to fully understand what happens in this movie. Perhaps, if I had an inkling, I could do a little research and be enlightened. I'm not so much into researching my movies to be quite honest. I had a similar experience not so long ago, where I felt so strongly about my experience I was compelled to write an email to a website I frequent regarding a movie I had watched recently. Awww, What the hell, I'll include that too, since I am playing critic tonight. Oh! If you are looking for Jean-Claude patented ass kicking, don't watch this. If you are a fanatic, go right ahead, fill yer boots.

I'm Not There

Now, just in case you’re a huge Dylan fan let me explain before you hire a hit. I like Bob Dylan; in fact my affection resides in the much stronger territory of love where certain songs are concerned. My Father made sure I was well acquainted with the music of, in his opinion, the best musicians on earth. Bob Dylan was one of them. So, when I saw a preview for this movie I was excited. Unfortunately, life happened and I didn't get to see it as early as I would have liked. I happened to be at the movie store without the other half last weekend, and there on the bottom shelf, in the corner of the bottom shelf, were two copies of this movie. I got all excited because I had forgotten all about it and I remembered how much I wanted to see it. I scooped it up, paid for it, drove home, popped me some popcorn and fired up the DVD player. I watched all 2 hours and 15 minutes of it.

If I had an ounce of knowledge on the subject, perhaps I could say this movie is visually remarkable. I didn’t invest 2 hours of my time for the cinematography. If I had wanted to see the result of Todd Haynes flexing his writer/director muscle, then I might have been impressed (although I was intrigued by the idea to use 6 different actors to portray one man). What I wanted was to learn a bit about the legend. To walk away feeling as if I had been audience to a small portion of Bob Dylan’s life. What I got, however, was a whole lot of “What the…?!?”
I thought I should sleep on it. Maybe I would feel better about it in the morning, you know, digest a little. I woke up still confused. What was I missing? Everything seemed out of context, nothing tied one event to another. I mean, what in the name of all that is good does Billy the Frikkin’ Kid have to do with Bob Dylan? I obviously was missing some very crucial information here. And that’s it. This movie left me feeling like there exists some secret VIP Dylan Club for which I was not a card holding member. Amateur’s need not apply.

For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the acting. Heath Ledger can (could?) do no wrong. Christian Bale was broody and he does that well. Cate Blanchett is amazing and everything she touches is gold in my eyes. Richard Gere, well, again I ask you, what does Billy the Kid have to do with Bob Dylan? I should add that I did look up Billy the Kid’s relevance shortly after I woke up and the explanations I found left me still confused. I did find a satisfactory explanation of Marcus Carl Franklin’s character. Even when I didn’t know why he was there or why he was calling himself Woody Guthrie, I was amused by the kid.

This movie should come with a warning; if you aren’t a die-hard, a Dylan aficionado, get your kicks elsewhere. This movie’s not for you.

Th-th-that's all folks!

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